"I have 8 hours to sleep, 8 hours to work and 8 hours with friends and family, and that's about it. Between dropping the kids at school, putting my projects together, managing the business of the office, and getting home in time for family dinner, providing some homework assistance and possibly some "me time" - there simply aren't a lot of extra hours in the day to do much more."
The opportunity to start a practice can come suddenly. The nature of a start up is that they often are not carefully planned, not well thought out, and many times are businesses of opportunity. A client calls with an offer you can't refuse. The firm you've been with for 10 years has suffered devastating layoffs and you find yourself looking for work. The market was so good that it seemed like a great time to strike out on your own. Before you know it you are thrust into ownership and all the responsibilities that a young firm entails.
"Keep in mind that in year three, 50-55% of start ups fail. Your firm does not need to contribute to those statistics."
The first few years are incredible. There is an adrenaline rush of excitement. The market is up, clients are calling. Life is good. But slowly, almost imperceptibly, there is less and less work. Business seems more competitive than ever. You can't sustain your recent hires. Cash flow is tighter than expected. This is a new experience and one that is very far from your picture of where you thought you would be at this time in your life. Keep in mind that in year three, 50-55% of start ups fail. Your firm does not need to contribute to those statistics.
Business owners have so many demands on their time. One of the first things important to understand is the tenor and pace of an owner's day. How are their personal and business hours invested each day? And further, what happens between arrival and departure at the office? What type of program can be effective in their particular circumstance? It may be a different answer for principals within the same firm. Regardless, we must find slivers of time to aggregate to make a difference. Our intent is to introduce a few significant changes in the status quo to change their future. This is the beginning, but only the beginning.
Let me help you discover a path through the maze that leads to your success. We can build a program of Business Development ideas to maximize the time you have, and put into operation a series of marketing elements that can act as a surrogate for you when your personal time is pressed or limited.
If you are concerned about the future or simply want to re-ignite your firm to a sustaining level, or maybe your experience has given you a new perspective on your practice that you would like to explore, I'd enjoy visiting with you to hear your story. Give me a call. The path is there, and we can discover it together.
William M. Burwell is a retired Architect and Interior Designer whose career focused on corporate interior architecture in sole proprietorships, and partnerships from 9 to 120 staff. Bill retired in 2014 and began Burwell Consulting, a Firm Marketing and Management Consulting firm, to share the wisdom and experience of those 45 years. Bill writes articles sharing his experience in keystone practice areas: Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Practice Management. He graduated from the University of Houston College of Architecture in 1971 and now serves the College on the Dean's Committee on Excellence. Check him out at www.burwell-consulting.com